Thursday, March 1, 2012

Business To Business Partnership Basics

All successful B2B partnerships have a few basic principles in common regardless of the industry the businesses are in and the type of partnership. A business relationship not structured to mutually benefit both parties will eventually fail if the goals of both companies not aligned with the business deal. Every B2B relationship that is implemented correctly will have several layers of corporate partnership training to make sure everyone understands the relationship and what their roles are in executing the details outlined in the partner agreement. The training should outline the communication processes for both lower level employees that will be interacting between the two companies as well as outlining basic communications and updates between executives. By maintaining an open line of communication, problems can be fixed quickly and allow small hiccups to be non-issues instead of festering and creating problems that can lead to the unraveling of an otherwise successful business to business partnership.

Mutually Beneficial Partnership

Every business deal should benefit both companies. Benefits can come in many ways ranging from an increase in revenue, reaching new customers, branding with an industry leader, access to resources, additional product/service offerings and many more. However, a relationship that is not structured properly will lead to one company to begin to show disinterest in the relationship if the deal flow or perceived benefits do not materialize. Expectations should be discussed early on in the negotiation phase of developing a partnership so that both parties understand the costs and benefits associated to a new partnership.

Corporate Partnership Training

Just signing an agreement with a new partner does not mean that the deal will ever be implemented. The most important activity to occur after creating a new business relationship is to make sure that training about the business relationship occurs. This may require your business team to spend significant time educating a new partner about your business. Do not expect to be able to send a few web links to be shared with a new partner. Making a training binder that has all of the information needed for both executives and employees is critical. This will allow a new partner to quickly get their staff up to speed about the deal and the opportunities that are available in the new relationship. It's best to have an easy to use binder to train new employees that come on board after the relationship has been in effect for some time.

Open Communication

Failure to communicate and solve problems when they happen will lead to major issues and possibly result in the termination of the B2B partnership that otherwise could have been successful. It's always recommended that there be two points of contact between the partnering companies, in case someone is out of the office or not available. This tends to be most important when the issues revolve around customer service as no one wants to lose a long standing customer due to a partner problem. Executives should set in advance regular update meetings and times to review the partnership, discuss new opportunities to expand the relationship and review any financial documents due to co-branded marketing funds or revenue shares. This way everyone feels they have adequate information about what is going on with the business deal.

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